Monday, November 8, 2010

Hybrid Goose

For those that frequent Fernhill Wetlands, you expect to be greeted by the hybrid Mallards that hang out near the parking lot. These birds are the result of cross breeding between some resident white domesticated ducks and wild Mallards. They produce quite a variety of blotchy, multicolored offspring.
Yesterday I came across another hybrid water fowl; a hybrid Canada or Cackling Goose. When I took this picture, I thought the white goose was a Snow Goose as I had seen a couple with a large flock of Cacklers a couple of weeks ago. But when I viewed the images tonight, I realized that it must be a domestic goose as its wings are missing the black primaries of the Snow Goose.
Then I noticed something else. If you look at the goose in front of the white domestic goose, you will notice that the white cheek patch is large and smudged looking. Even closer examining reveals that its legs have an orange tint. After some internet research it is apparent that this is a hybrid.
I'm still not very good at differentiating between Canada and Cackling Geese while in flight, but I think the goose in the lead is a Canada Goose and the trailing Goose is a Cackling Goose. I base this on the smaller size and shorter neck length of the trailer. I'm guessing that the Cackler and the domestic goose are the parents of the hybrid.

1 comment:

  1. Hybrid Graylag (barnyard) x Western Canada gesse have been at Fernhill Wetlands since at least 2004. See the photo at